Friday, October 30, 2009

Behold, the Lamb of God - John 1:29

"The next day he saw Jesus coming to him,
and said,
"Behold, the Lamb of God
who takes away the sins of the world!"
(vs 29)

Here is a dynamite packed verse. These words about the Messiah are precious and are filled to overflowing with encouragement, challenge and hope for us.

John the Baptist, this amazing man of humble boldness, sees Christ coming and makes a glorious declaration - one that we would do well to add to our regular conversation about our Lord. His sermon that day is: "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!"

This morning, I want to take a step by step look at what John says.

"Behold..." - We would all do well to stop and behold the Lord Jesus Christ. We ought to gaze upon His nature and works. We should look upon Him in faith, repentance, praise, and awe. We have much need to marvel at His marvelous mercy. It would behoove us to behold Him - to truly behold Him! We should fix the eyes of our heart upon the incarnate Word who has become the sacrificial Lamb! Matthew Henry writes: "It is our duty to behold Him! See what He has done and let that increase our hatred of sin and increase our love of Christ!" Am I living my life with the eyes of faith focused in a beholding fashion upon this Lamb who has died for me? Sadly, I must answer, "not nearly enough"!

"...the Lamb of God..." - J.C. Ryle's comments stirred my heart this day and I share them here:

"This name did not merely mean, as some have supposed, that Christ was meek and gentle as a lamb. This would be truth, no doubt, but only a very small portion of the truth. There are greater things here than this! It meant that Christ was the great Sacrifice for sin, who was come to make atonement for transgression by His own death upon the cross. He was the true Lamb which Abraham told Isaac at Moriah that God would provide. He was the true Lamb to which every morning and evening sacrifice in the temple had daily pointed. He was the Lamb of which Isaiah had prophesied, that He would be brought to the slaughter. He was the true Lamb of which the passover lamb had been a vivid type. In short, He was the great propitiation for sin which God had covenanted from all eternity to send into the world. He was God's Lamb!

"Let us take heed that in all our thoughts of Christ, we first think of Him as John the Baptist here represents Him. Let us serve Him faithfully as our Master. Let us obey Him loyally as our King, Let us study His teaching as our Prophet. Let us walk diligently after Him as our Example. Let us look anxiously for Him as our coming Redeemer of body as well as soul. But above all, let us prize Him as our Sacrifice, and rest our whole weight on His death as an atonement for sin. Let His blood be more precious in our eyes every year we live. Whatever else we glory in about Christ, let us glory above all things in His cross. This is the corner stone, this is the citadel, this is the root of true Christian theology. We know nothing rightly about Christ, until we see Him with John the Baptist's eyes, and can rejoice in Him as "the Lamb that was slain."

"...who takes away the sin of the world." - This Lamb came to accomplish something. He came to save and that is exactly what He did! Again I turn to Ryle:

"Christ is a Saviour. He did not come on earth to be a conqueror, or a philosopher, or a mere teacher of morality. He came to save sinners. He came to do that which man could never do for himself, - to do that which money and learning could never obtain, - to do that which is essential to man's real happiness: He came to 'take away sin.'

"Christ is a complete Saviour. He "taketh away sin." He did not merely make vague proclamations of pardon, mercy and forgiveness. He 'took' our sins upon Himself, and carried them away. He allowed them to be laid upon Himself, and 'bore them in His own body on the tree.' The sins of every one that believes on Jesus are made as though they had never been sinned at all. The Lamb of God has taken them clean away.

"Christ is an almighty Saviour, and a Saviour for all mankind. He 'taketh away the sins of the world.' He did not die for the Jews only, but for the Gentile as well as the Jew. He did not suffer for a few persons only, but for all mankind. The payment that He made on the cross was more than enough to make satisfaction for the debts of all. The blood that He shed was precious enough to wash away the sins of all. His atonement on the cross was sufficient for all mankind, though efficient only to them that believe. The sin that He took up and bore on the cross was the sin of the whole world."

Oh friends, what glorious truths! Does not your heart leap at the thought of them? How we need to behold Him! Behold the Lamb of God - the great Shepherd of the sheep who became the gruesome sacrificial Lamb - He is our Surety and our Sacrifice - in Him alone is our redemption!

Behold Him who takes away the sin of the world. This Lamb has removed from me the guilt and the power of sin - and not only from me but from multitudes more numerous than the sands of the seashore and the stars of the heavens. How great, how mighty, how marvelous, how awesome and how worthy of our adoration and praise is this Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

May John's sermon be our own and may it ring truer and sweeter to us every moment of our lives.

"Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!"

Longing to behold Him more and more,

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